We are still with you
Our everyday local democracy is about working with our citizens and organisations in our local places. That’s what we’ve been continuing to do over the past eight weeks. Just in a different way from what any of us were expecting. So on what would have been local election day, we wanted to take a few minutes let you know that we’re still with you.
Here are some the things we’ve been doing over the past few weeks…
Our co-ordinated Covid-19 Community Response
We’ve helped to set up the co-ordinated Community Response in Kirklees. We’re making sure that together we can all support our neighbours and communities. We’re proud to be working alongside some amazing local organisations. These include Volunteering Kirklees (part of Third Sector Leaders Kirklees), a network of 8 voluntary and community anchor organisations, and dozens of local groups who are offering mutual aid support in our local places.
Over 4,000 citizens have been in touch to either request support or to offer support to others. Our staff are part of the four Community Response hubs across Kirklees, who are working 7 days a week to respond to requests for support. This means that anyone who needs help with food or essential supplies, or who is struggling with isolation, can get support. We know how much this means to people who are feeling worried and alone.
Supporting and promoting local groups
In less than 3 weeks, over 1,000 citizens got in touch with us to make an offer of support. Many other people are part of our local mutual aid group network, or are volunteering with a local organisation. The response from communities has been amazing.
For our part, we’re making sure we create opportunities for local groups to tell us what they need. We’re listening through regular video calls and social media networks, and we’re sharing regular email updates with mutual aid groups. David from Stocksmoor Village Association shared his thoughts with us about how this has helped:
To make sure that everyone who is part of the response can get the information they need, and can share this easily with their networks, we’ve created the We are with you blog. This includes useful advice and information, as well as stories and updates from local groups. We’re helping local organisations to promote what’s already happening, and to get support:
If you’re part of a local organisation and would like to share your story, please get in touch: Contact us
Putting Councillors at the heart
Each of our local places is different. Our Community Response hubs are working closely with ward councillors day to day to make sure we help in the way that’s most useful. Kirklees Council have also made more money available for councillors to help organisations and groups support people in our local places during the Covid-19 pandemic. £30,000 of extra funding is now available for each ward, through their Ward Project Budgets. Please make contact with your local councillors if you are part of a group or project in need of urgent funding to support people in your local place during the coronavirus outbreak.
What happens next?
Most importantly, what we’re doing right now is both reflecting on the past few weeks and looking forwards. Before Covid-19, we were already learning so much from citizens in our local places about how we can all work together to make the places where we live and work even better. We’ve added to this learning. Next we need to learn together how to make this shift happen. Our everyday lives have changed, but our need to grow stronger relationships and to have a voice in what happens in our local places is clearer now than ever.